Tuesday - more weather study for passage

11 p.m. (Monday) - studying the weather info... Present wind is WNW 16 kt. Looks like light winds for next two days, then N winds will arrive and increase to become strong quite quickly. I need to get into position to make good use of those N winds to head ENE, rather than have them cause me a major problem if I'm not far N enough.

My present thoughts are to motor N frequently, whenever possible, for the next two days, if winds are light enough and direction is OK... Will need the winds to be as light as forecast for that to work. That would place us on outskirts of the 20-25 kt N-NNW wind field on Thursday, ready to 'turn the corner' and head for Cape Flattery...

3 a.m. Just turned off engine - no point in wasting fuel and wind had veered to NW, from W when turned on. COG now is 027T (NNE) at 3.7 kt.

6 a.m. Engine back on - we were making just 2.5kt, now 5 kt. Wind backed soon after into W, so N course again. Grey rainclouds with some tiny blue patches between and stronger wind under darker clouds. Bumpy - heading into WNW seas.

8.30 a.m. Very poor copy on 4MHz maritime frequency with Mike on Mouton Noir and others in SHTP race fleet, although I think my position was copied. Went to 6MHz - had quick chat with Seazed Asset (all going well in 15 kt following Trade winds, but still rolly) and Tortuga was also clear. Weatherfax download, then to Baja Net for quick chat and more weather info!

9.30 a.m. Wind 8-10 kt from just N of W at present - motor-sailing. Sky brighter now, with occasional sunshine and fewer dark grey rain clouds around. Still bumpy, heading into waves. Time for b'fast.

11 a.m. Wow! A rain cloud .. and wind suddenly shot up to 16-18 knots - noticed we were rushing along at just over 7 knots - definitely time to cut the engine for a bit! Sun getting out between the clouds but just put a fleece top on - air is cooler here than in Mexico!

Busy calculating distances sailed during my westabout circumnavigation - interesting exercise, made a lot easier by having a plotter to hand.... Lots of nice memories!

1 p.m. ....Comes to well over 25,000 n.mls., taken as straight lines between major ports of call.

Really variable today... One moment - nice sunshine, blue sky overhead and rainfall seen in distance, light W wind. Then, a short while later - big cloud and the wind really gusts up. Keeping me busy - up/down, to/from cockpit, to adjust sheets and motor.

Hoping seas might calm down a bit more so I can top up main fuel tank from jerry cans - 3/8 full at present - about 140 litres or more, giving more than 36 hours of motoring, even before topping up.

6.30 p.m. Tried contacting the B.C./Pacific NW evening Net on 3860 - but too noisy to copy anything. Need to be a bit closer.

Wind has been consistently W 8-9 kt this afternoon but has now veered closer to WNW .. still light, at 7 kt. I suspect wind will slowly veer over next few days as we head N. No unexpected squalls this afternoon! In fact, having totally forgotten to download all my usual many weatherfaxes, it was positively relaxing, with bright sky and far less rough seas...

Stays light so much later than I'm used to - I'm really noticing how late darkness falls.

Written by : Jeanne Socrates